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Last week I received a call from good friend and photography cohort, Bob Gress. He had made a spur of the moment decision to drive up to the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge for the Buffalo Auction, or to be politically correct, the Bison Auction. I had never attended the auction & had nothing better to do. It sounded fun. The problem was, I only had 40 minutes to change clothes, figure out what photo gear to take, pack it, let the dog out for a bathroom break, and meet him at a location about 15 minutes drive from my house.
There were not many photo opportunities at the auction but, I really enjoyed the experience. Maxwell has resident herds of bison and elk. Each year, since 1978, the refuge has auctioned off a few buffalo. This year 65 animals were sold to people who were going to raise them for meat, or establish a herd, or even add to their existing herd. Calves from this year, as well as yearlings and adults were auctioned. It sometimes got a little too exciting, especially when a group of adult buffalo would enter the ring. They would tend to panic and run around the small enclosure, looking for a way out. I was kneeling, photographing through a gap in the corral railing when an adult bull charged and slammed into the solid steel corral wall in front of me. I looked up see him trying to come over the top. WOW! Thankfully, I have never been that "up close and personal" with bison when photographing them in Yellowstone (and hope I never am).